University of California to Raise Tuition Over the Next Five Years

November 21, 2014 /

Photo: Courtesy of New America Media

Photo: Courtesy of New America Media

JOHNNY FLORES/Coachella Uninc.

California—On Thursday November 20, the University of California Board of Regents adopted a plan that would increase tuition over the next five years if the UC system received no additional funding from the state. The plan was approved by a 14-7 vote, despite student protests and opposition from California Governor Jerry Brown.

The plan will increase tuition by five percent per year for the next five years starting next school semester, 2015-2016. This is the first time in three years that tuition at the University of California will increase.

The UC system, which consists of 10 California universities from San Diego to Berkeley, will increase annual tuition by $612. This will raise the current tuition from $12,192 to $12,804 for residents of California. More so, this plan will also have the university enroll at least 5,000 more students from the state of California and another 2,000 nonresident students for the next five years.

“This is a plan that is integral not only to the stability, but also to the vitality, of the University of California,” said UC President Janet Napolitano at a Board of Regents meeting on Wednesday.

This plan is intended to grow California student enrollment, provide and maintain financial aid coverage, and reinvest in various academic programs. The new plan is focused on the long-term financial activities of the UC, replacing the previous year-to-year financial plan that the University of California had been relying on.

While the Board of Regents did vote “Yes” on the proposed plan, Governor Jerry Brown heavily opposed this plan. Instead, Gov. Brown maintained that the University of California Board of Regents wait until January, and at the start of the 2015 year, begin a joint committee with the California Department of Finance in order to find a better solution to curb costs rather than raise them.

The committee would not only focus on restructuring the financial health of the UC system but would involve a major overhaul of how the University of California schools work altogether. This includes finding ways to create three-year graduations, implementation of lower division requirements across all UC campuses and a wider range of online classes that can extend far beyond a traditional classroom. More so, the committee would look at ways to expand opportunities to receive credit through prior work or military experience and an overall goal of eliminating interaction of different campuses in order to differentiate each campus.

Finally, the Board of Regents also approved a report to Gov. Brown that detailed what the effects on the university would be, if it were not receive additional funding from tuition or the California state. In short, it stated that in order to maintain the level of financial aid available to current students and to continue to invest in quality academia, California residents would need to be replaced by more than 15,000 nonresident students in order to make up for the costs. Nonresidents pay a higher tuition fee than California state residents. Therefore, by eliminating students within California the UC system will continue to be able to operate and maintain financial aid among other goals.

Students from the Coachella Valley say the proposed increase in tuition will not discourage them from applying to UC schools.

“The tuition hikes will not deter me from applying, and if education is important enough to you, then tuition is secondary,” said Ivan Valenzuela, an Indio resident and College of the Desert student.

Valenzuela has been completing general education classes at COD for the past three years in an effort to save money before transferring out of the community college. But Valenzuela said he would still need to increase his student loans if he wants to attend a state school.

“Loans are a big burden when you get out of college,” said Valenzuela. “But the prospect of getting a better job from the education you receive is worth the burden.”

Valenzuela said despite the threat of increased tuition, he hopes to study sociology at a UC school in the fall of 2015.

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